Most of us remain confused by the prevalence of war, but we feel that at least the people fighting them knew what they were getting in to. But that’s not always true?it turns out that, increasingly, wars all around the world are being fought by children. And the longer this keeps happening, the less likely it is that there will be peace.
Two sociologists have done a study that reveals that as long as children continue to be coerced into militias?as they are by the thousands in Colombia, Sudan and dozens of other countries?peace talks in those countries to settle armed conflicts are unlikely. Cornell professor Charles Geisler says, “The endless supply of adolescent soldiers is an unfortunate source of energy for warfare and, we think, a poorly understood obstacle to peace-making in many countries.”
Niousha Roshani, who co-authored the study, agrees, and says, “Orgies of bloodshed and human displacement could be avoided if children were not sacrificed for such causes.” Both sociologists came to the conclusion that peace in Colombia’s drug war is actually prevented by children bearing arms, calling this conflict “a war machine that cannibalizes children.”
With the seemingly endless availability of willing soldiers (who are too young to know better), there is no reason for either side to negotiate a peaceful solution. The continual supply of obedient, cheap and disposable child soldiers allows war to continue through a “morally repulsive” vicious cycle, according to the researchers. Warfare in Columbia has disrupted families for three generations, with no end in sight.
Worldwide, some 300,000 children are bearing arms in more than 30 conflicts, according to Youth Advocate Program International, and 90% of all the casualties in these conflicts are women and children.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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